Aristotle on Virtue of Character and the Authority of Reason

In: Phronesis
Jozef Müller Department of Philosophy, University of California Riverside HMNSS Building, Room 1604, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521 USA

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I argue that, for Aristotle, virtue of character is a state of the non-rational part of the soul that makes one prone to making and acting on decisions in virtue of that part’s standing in the right relation to (correct) reason, namely, a relation that qualifies the agent as a true self-lover. In effect, this central feature of virtue of character is nothing else than love of practical wisdom. As I argue, it not only explains how reason can hold direct authority over non-rational desires but also why Aristotle defines virtue of character as hexis prohairetikē.

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